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19July 2012

Customs Attorney: Customs and Border Protection: Notice of Detention

Customs is given broad authority to inspect shipments entering into the country.  When Customs questions the admissibility of goods into the United States, Customs has the authority to detain the shipment until satisfactory information is provided to enable release.  Customs has five (5) business days from the date on which the merchandise is presented for examination to decide whether or not to detain the merchandise or to allow its release.  If Customs decides to detain a shipment, they must provide the importer with a formal Notice of Detention within five (5) days of the determination to detain the shipment.  During the detention phase the importer has the opportunity to resolve any issues as to admissibility in order to avoid a rejection or seizure.

A Notice of Detention must provide the following information under the law:

  • That the goods have been placed under detention;
  • The precise reason for their detention;
  • The estimated length of time that they will be detained;
  • A description of any inquiries being conducted or tests to be made (legally, test results also must be promptly provided to the importer) regarding the goods; and
  • Any additional information that may assist in the prompt disposition of the detention.

Customs has thirty (30) days to render a decision regarding the detained shipment, unless a longer time period has been granted.  If no final decision is reached at the end of this thirty day period, the merchandise is automatically considered excluded for purposes of protest. If the goods are seized, the importer will receive a notice of seizure. It will provide the reasons for the seizure and options available to the importer.

Resource Information

For more information about this blog post, please contact Abady Law Firm, P.C. and speak with our customs attorney at (800) 549-5099. Also visit www.customsesq.com to chat with a customs lawyer — who has insight into CBP Detentions — about your company’s import situation and to schedule a consultation.  To chat with us, click the bottom right corner tab of our homepage.

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